In May 2019 we launched a new grant of up to £100,000 to assist in funding projects, which promote the Waterways in Progress report vision and values. This grant has been made possible by legacies that have been left to the Association.
There were two big objectives of the report. The first was to encourage local authorities at every level across the country to consider having at least one named member of staff, who would be responsible for the promotion and development of navigable and derelict waterways within their constituency. The second was to promote the idea of restoration works for today.
The scale of many restorations – especially in terms of the funding needed and construction skills required – could stop progress in its tracks. However, restoration groups can focus on smaller-scale projects that start bringing about positive changes from day one. Benefits of this include local awareness and community support, which can lead to the larger issues feeling more surmountable.
A key requirement for any organisation applying for the grant was that their project would start to deliver right from day one. While the project did not have to deliver more miles of waterways, it had to focus on wider benefits. Examples include creating partnerships, engaging communities and inspiring key stakeholders. Projects were also required to deliver on at least one of the key Waterways in Progress themes.
Waterways in Progress Themes
- Channelling Regeneration – projects which bring economic benefits to the local area
- Promoting Personal Development & Well-being – encouraging people to get out and about for both physical and mental health benefits, as well as volunteering and learning new skills
- Creating Community Spaces – projects which build social cohesion and instil civic pride
- Enhancing Heritage & Habitats – the delivery of environmental benefits and/or the preservation of history and tradition for the benefit of future generations.
The Waterways in Progress Grant was launched at IWA’s Parliamentary Reception in 2019. It received 28 expressions of interest from 27 different waterways groups. Seven projects were invited to progress to stage two of the process and asked to submit more detailed applications for assessment. Four projects were successful.